This startup breaks down the barriers to life insurance and offers a more seamless process.
A life insurance policy is an investment in your family’s future — but the sheer number of providers out there can make it hard to choose one.
Bestow is a fintech startup that simplifies life insurance. It sticks to term life policies and does away with medical exams and long wait times. Instead, it uses algorithms to offer instant quotes and coverage.
But while it’s innovative, Bestow has its limitations. It’s not open to those over the age of 54 and you can’t customize your coverage with riders.
|Terms Available||Currently available in 48 states|
|Payment methods||2, 10 or 20 years|
|Medical exam required||N/A|
|Temporary underwriting coverage||No medical exam|
|Temporary underwriting coverage||N/A|
In business for over a century, the company is BBB-accredited and has the cash reserves to pay out claims — as confirmed by its A+ ratings with A.M. Best, S&P and Fitch.
Since Bestow is so new to the marketplace, there aren't many customer reviews to draw from. However, press outlets like HuffPost, Forbes, WSJ and TechCrunch have praised its simple sign-up process, innovative underwriting and competitive rates. Some reviewers have lamented the lack of permanent policies and riders, but overall, the reviews are overwhelmingly positive.
Pros and cons of Bestow life insurance
- Online application. You can apply for coverage and receive approval within 10 minutes.
- Competitive prices. Choose a coverage amount based on the monthly premium payment.
- No medical exam. The insurer’s tagline is: “We take the pricks out of life insurance.”
- Coverage amounts. Bestow offers up to $1 million in coverage, which is high for no-exam policies.
- 2-year term available. If you only need coverage for a short period of time, the two-year term may be a good fit.
- 30-day money back guarantee. Cancel your policy within the first 30 days and you’ll receive a refund — no questions asked.
- No annual or cancellation fees. One of the benefits of eliminating commissioned agents is that policyholders don’t have to pay fees.
- Financially strong. Bestow is backed by the North American Company for Life and Health Insurance, which boasts an A+ rating from A.M Best, S&P and Fitch. This means the insurer has the cash to pay out claims.
- No riders or supplemental coverages. You can’t customize your coverage with riders or add protection for your spouse or children.
- Age restrictions. Bestow’s 2- and 10-year policies are open to those aged 21-54, while the cutoff age for 20-year policies is 45. So all policies will expire by the time you’re 65.
- Short support window. Agents are available via phone and live chat during business hours, 9am-5pm CDT. Outside of those times, you’ll have to email or leave a voicemail.
- No 30-year term option. This is unusual, even for an online startup.
How does Bestow compare?
What life insurance coverage does Bestow offer?
Bestow offers term life insurance policies for those aged between 21-54. The cheapest and most straightforward policy, term life provides protection for a set period of time — in Bestow’s case, 2, 10 or 20 years. The premium stays the same for as long as the policy is in force.
The minimum coverage amount is $50,000. For a 10- or 20-year policy, you can buy up to $1 million of coverage. For a 2-year policy, the limit is $500,000. The policies are non-renewable, so at the end of the term, you’ll need to reapply for a new policy.
If you pass away, your beneficiaries will receive a guaranteed death benefit. Once the claim is approved, the North American Company for Life and Health Insurance will wire the funds into your beneficiary’s bank account.
Bestow doesn’t charge annual or cancellation fees and you can cancel your coverage at any time.
What’s not covered in my policy?
To avoid complicating its algorithms, Bestow doesn’t allow policyholders to customize their coverage with riders.
If you want to dress up your policy with these riders and supplementary coverages, look at other insurers:
- Accelerated death benefit
- Accidental death benefit
- Child protection
- Spousal protection
- Waiver of premium
- Overloan protection
- Disability coverage
How can I get a low rate?
Your premium is a product of your age, health, lifestyle, occupation and hobbies, as well as the length and amount of coverage you purchase. Insurance is a game of risk, and like all insurers, Bestow reserves its best rates for its least risky applicants.
Its underwriting considers:
- Tobacco use. To qualify for the highest rate class, you’ll have to prove you haven’t smoked tobacco in the past five years.
- Age. Young, healthy applicants are usually privy to cheaper premiums.
- Gender. Women have a higher life expectancy than men, so they tend to pay lower premiums.
- Driving record. If your recent record is free from major traffic violations and DUI, you’ll probably score a better premium.
- Criminal history. People with a criminal conviction to their name will find it harder to get coverage.
- Health. To determine the chances of you outliving your policy, the insurer looks at your cholesterol, blood pressure, BMI and family medical history. If you’ve had an organ transplant or have one of the following health conditions, Bestow will most likely deny coverage: heart disease, stroke, cancer, HIV, kidney disease requiring dialysis and diabetes before the age of 40.
- Occupation. Some jobs are more dangerous than others. Firemen, fishermen, roofers, loggers and electrical power-line installers will be subject to higher rates.
- Hazardous lifestyle. Do you have any high-risk hobbies like deep diving, racecar driving, rock climbing or recreational flying? Or, do you travel to dangerous or war-torn countries? The insurer will charge a higher premium to compensate for the risk.
- Alcohol and drugs. Bestow can’t extend coverage to those who have a history of alcohol or drug abuse.
How do I file a life insurance claim with Bestow?
To report a claim, follow these steps:
- Call 833-300-0603 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to let Bestow know that the policyholder has passed away.
- In the call, voicemail or email, provide the policyholder’s full name, date of birth, beneficiary, and policy number if you have it.
- Include your contact details.
- You’ll receive a claim packet by mail within five days. Complete the forms and submit any supporting documentation such as a death certificate.
- Double check that the beneficiary’s banking details are correct.
- Once the insurer has all the required information, it will assess and process the claim within 10 days. Bestow will then wire the funds to the beneficiary.
What is Bestow known for?
Founded in 2017, Bestow is an insurtech company that sells term life insurance. Headquartered in Dallas, Bestow aims to break down the major barriers to life insurance — time, money and medical exams — by offering instant coverage online. It trades in the medical exam for technology and big data and uses algorithms to underwrite policies in 10 minutes.
By using analytics to assess risk, Bestow is one of a handful of companies that are shaking up the insurance industry. The startup has partnered with a financial powerhouse, the North American Company for Life and Health Insurance, which writes policies on Bestow’s behalf and handles claim payouts.
In early 2018, Bestow made headlines when it raised $15 million in Series A funding – an amount that brought its total financing to more than $18 million. Since then, CEO Melbourne O’Banion has led the team in expanding nationwide. Fast-forward to now, and Bestow’s policies are available in 40 states across the US.
What other services does Bestow offer?
At this stage, Bestow only sells term life insurance.
Designed for today’s buyer, Bestow cuts down on the time and cost of life insurance to make it an easier and more convenient purchase. If you’re healthy and aged between 21-54, you should be able to breeze through the application process.
However, if your needs are complex and you need to customize your coverage with riders, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
Find an insurer that checks all your boxes by comparing providers and policies.